With Nagaland set to hold its Urban Local Bodies election on 26 June after 20 years, let’s delve into the intricacies of Urban Local Bodies or Municipalities in India.

Enacted in 1992, the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act transformed urban local bodies into robust self-governing institutions. This amendment laid the groundwork for decentralization of powers and authorities to Municipal bodies at various levels. However, it’s important to note that the practical implementation of these provisions falls within the purview of the States.

Types of ULBs in India
Urban local governance in India comprises eight distinct types of Urban Local Bodies:

Municipal Corporation: Predominantly found in major cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, Municipal Corporations cater to populations exceeding 10 lakhs and boast high revenue generation capabilities.
Municipal Council: Smaller cities host Municipal Councils, serving populations below 10 lakhs. These bodies may also be referred to by various names such as municipal committees or municipal boards depending upon the state.

Notified Area Committee: Established for rapidly developing or underprivileged towns, Notified Area Committees operate with members nominated by the state government.

Town Area Committee: Typically found in smaller towns, Town Area Committees oversee basic amenities like street lighting, drainage, and roads.

Cantonment Board: Created by the central government, Cantonment Boards cater to civilian populations residing within cantonment areas.

Township: Designed to provide essential services to staff and workers residing in industrial colonies, Townships operate as extensions of bureaucratic structures without elected representatives.

Port Trust: Located in port areas such as Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, Port Trusts manage ports and provide civic amenities to residents.

Special Purpose Agency: These agencies undertake specific functions designated to Municipal Corporations or Municipalities.

Nagaland Municipal Act 2023
In accordance with the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2023, the state government holds the authority to declare municipal areas based on demographic and economic factors. Municipal areas are categorized into Municipal Council areas for populations exceeding 20,000, Town Council areas for populations ranging from 5,000 to 20,000, and Urban Station Committee areas for populations between 1,000 and 5,000.

Structural Composition of Municipal and Town Councils
In a Municipal Council area, the Municipal Authorities responsible for implementing the Act are the Municipal Council itself, the Chairperson, and the Executive Officer.

Every Municipal Council consists of elected, ex-officio, and nominated members. “ Ex-Officio” means Members of Lok Sabha from Nagaland, Members of Rajya Sabha from Nagaland and Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly representing Legislative Assembly Constituencies which comprise wholly or partly the Municipal Council/ Town Council area.

The government can divide the municipal council area into wards for direct elections. Members of the State Legislative Assembly representing constituencies within the municipal council area are ex-officio members. The government can nominate up to one-fifth of the elected members from individuals with expertise in Municipal Administration.

Not less than one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Municipal Council shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality.

Duration of Municipal Council:
· Municipal Councils operate for a term of 5 years from the date of their first meeting unless dissolved earlier.

· The first meeting must be convened within 6 months of the notification of member elections by the State Election Commission.

Authorities and Composition for Town Council area:
Town Councils consist of elected members, ex-officio members, and nominated members.

The government can divide the Town Council area into wards through notification for the purpose of direct elections. Members of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and the Nagaland Legislative Assembly representing constituencies within the Town Council area are ex-officio members.

The government can nominate up to one-fifth of the elected members from individuals with expertise in Municipal administration through notification.

Qualifications for Council Membership
Prospective councilors must be at least 21 years old and listed as electors within the respective ward’s electoral roll.

Powers and functions of Municipal Council/Town Council
Urban Local Bodies are vested with essential functions outlined in the 12th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, including obligatory functions of Municipal Councils such as:

· Urban planning including town planning.

· Regulation of land-use and construction of buildings.

· Planning for economic and social development.

· Public health, sanitation conservancy and solid waste management.

· Urban forestry, protection of the environment and promotion of ecological aspects.

· Safeguarding the interest of weaker sections of society including the handicapped and mentally retarded.

· Slum improvement and up- gradation.

· Provision of urban amenities and facilities such as roads, parks, gardens, playground(s), street lighting, parking lots and public conveniences.

· Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects.

· Burials and burials grounds, cremations, cremation grounds and electric crematoriums.

· Cattle ponds, prevention of cruelty to animals.

· Vital statistics including registration of births and deaths.

· Regulation of slaughterhouses and tanneries.

The government can assign further functions, as specified in the Twelfth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, to Municipal Councils based on their financial resources and organizational capacity.

Functions of Town Council: The functions of Town Councils are contingent upon the financial resources and organizational capacity available to them. The government has the authority to assign functions to Town Councils through notification. These assigned functions can include those typically performed by Municipal Councils or any other matters specified in the Twelfth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

(To be concluded)

Mokokchung Times

2 thoughts on “What are the structure, composition and roles of Urban Local Bodies in Nagaland? – Part 1”
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